Photos of honeycomb and bees have been layered into a rectangular repeating background.

MAURICE MOORE: “RAHEEM’S DANCE”

Two generations of tellers head home on an old country dirt road after a long day visiting plantations cross de south.

Old man: -Spits in slop cup-

Raheem: Daddy why you actin funny today?

Old man: Ok Raheem. Yall been idle long enuf. Next time you finna entertain de folks at dat plantation, and I will sign best as I can. -laughs- Dat’s if my arthritis don’t hold me back.

Raheem: No, Daddy.

Old man: Don’t no me Boy! My memory ain’t what it usta be.

Raheem: But, why me Daddy?

Old man: -Spits in slop cup- Cause dat’s what our folks do Raheem.

Raheem: -Silence-

Old man: We hold de recipes of our hxrstory. Cook up sumthang good ta feed our peoples souls. Kept hidden under de guise of recipes, or through our dances; our stories hold our lineage.

-Spits in slop cup-

Raheem: -Silence-

Old man: Look you don’t have ta do it like ya Daddy do. Der ain’t nothin wrong wit dancing ya tales out. If dat’s de way they come out!

Raheem: -voice cracking-I know Daddy!-lowers head-

Old man: Head up Boy! -Spits in slop cup- If ya Daddy Earl could see yall doin dat mess.

-shakes head-

Raheem: I know Daddy.

Old man: You know! -laughs- He usta dance his tales bout de ancient folks too. 

Raheem: Really?

Old man: -Spits in slop cup- But, in de time of our youth men folk weren’t permitted to dance dey tales. Yes, dat was only fa women and femmes.

Raheem: Worlds changed. Yes.But it still be mad scary. It’s like I get lifted to another plane of existence when I dance.

Old man: -Spits in slop cup- And how you thank de world changed Raheem? Cause, folks like Daddy Earl risked being banished fo dancing to keep cookin up de past!

Raheem: I know Daddy. So how long do I have ta prepare?

Old man: -Spits in slop cup- Ohh, what we gathered today should last me and yo hungrymouth siblings for bout two weeks.

Raheem: What am I even gon dance bout Daddy?

Old man: Boy don’t you know anythang? -laughs- You will take my place as a teller, and so my tales are automaticity bequeath ta your peanut head. Plus, Daddy Earl’s too!

Raheem: -laughs- Sounds like a plan Old Man. However, I will go with Daddy Earls moves first.

Old man: And, which moves would dat be Boy?

Raheem: -Bending his arms rhythmically and singing- You know dat nursery rhyme we would dance bout de Syncerus folks and de Hunters!

Old man: -Spits in slop cup-

On a background of lined paper, figures dance. The figures are traced in swirls of black ink. Some figures have discernible heads, and some do not. Some figures could be the silhouettes of frogs or spiders or headless bodies. All have a various number of limbs that are caught mid-swirls or motion. Some arms curl in protectively, others fly up or out in bursts of emotion. One figure may be laying on its back or flying through space.

Artist Statement: Based in my artistic practice, my performances/research explores how Black queer people such as myself have implemented and created a means of survival through Black performance art, creating a mode of active radical resistance. These mode(s) draw upon performative traditions including call and response, improvisation, reading, throwing shade, and African-American Vernacular English (AAVE). My pieces extrapolates theories both from queer of color critique and Black foodways, synthesizing different dialects of an innovative visual language.